Welcome to a new blog series, “The Local Government Nerve Center” — all about the amazing and important work of clerks and recorders. Want to be a contributor? Learn more here.
By Jesse Raymundo, City of Fontana, CA Administrative Clerk
Still a youngin’ in the City Clerk’s Office, there are two elements that stand out to me in this department:
- Its focus on efficiency; and
- The growing innovative spirit.
Nine notepads strategically placed about 10 inches from the edge of the table at each city council member’s seat.
Nine pens nestled at the binding of each notepad with the pen cap pointing to the left for convenient removal (sorry left-handed city council members), creating a seamless transition to a usable pen, ready for writing at a moment’s notice.
Every action was executed with precision to minimize time consuming movement, scrambling, and any fumbling when looking for a pen that works and paper that wasn’t a napkin to jot down quick notes during a city council meeting.
Initially, when I was instructed in detail about how to set up for a workshop and city council meeting, I thought to myself, “why so detailed?” My supervisor at the time emphasized that,
“during these meetings, every second counts. Anytime the Mayor has to stop and look for something, that is time that could be used for discussion.” Attention to detail is key in our line of work, especially in this case, where the entire meeting is being broadcasted live and the community is taking time out of their day to participate.
When I first started working in the City Clerk’s Office, my goal in preparing for the city council meetings was to ensure that everything was ready for the next move. Simple, yet detailed, with a clear purpose in mind and efficiency at the forefront.
Known for its duty in maintaining transparency between the city’s government and the public, the City Clerk’s Office has kept up with the pace of technology, expanding the definition of accessibility and convenience.
Video technology is just one example of the department’s innovative spirit. In addition to the city’s website, the use of several social media outlets have become a popular trend when informing citizens of upcoming meetings and such.
Before there was YouTube and the like, if you couldn’t make it to the city council meeting on that one Tuesday evening, no worries; you could probably take a little stroll over to city hall and ask for a copy of the agenda and you’re good to go. However, with the rise and popularity of video technology, there are plenty of options for you to catch up on what you missed. From watching city council meetings live on television, on your computer or any other electronic device, to tuning into last month’s city council meeting, there are a growing number of ways to listen in on city council meetings.
More often, I see different City Clerk’s Offices kick it up a notch by creating a dedicated space within their websites where collections of public records can be searched. This proactive approach to public records requests is just another example of the numerous ways the department can serve the community.
As I continue my journey in City Clerk’s Office, I hope to carry on the strong work ethic of such an efficient, innovative department.
- A City Clerk is Not Just a Secretary
- Public Sector Compliance Policies
- What is a Special District Clerk?
- My Love Letter to City Recorders
- Archiving Public Sector E-Communications